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Food Porn Friday – National Cheesecake Day is July 30th

(Image via fanpop.com)

YES!!! One of the most important foods has its own day. July 30th is National Cheesecake Day! In honour of such a meaningful and absolutely justifiable occasion, I bring you some cheesecake history courtesy of cheesecake.com, their step-by-step guide to making one of the most popular cheesecakes (recipe included)  and, of course, some mouth-watering recipes.

Did you know:

  • In Greece, cheesecake was considered to be a good source of energy.
  • There is evidence that it was served to athletes during the first Olympic games in 776 B.C.
  • When the Romans conquered Greece, the cheesecake recipe was just one spoil of war.
  • As the Romans expanded their empire, the recipes started taking on different cultural shapes, using ingredients native to each region.

Cheesecake.com also takes you step-by-step in making and baking a perfect cheesecake using a New York Style cheesecake recipe.

And now, the best part, the recipes. These recipes are from allrecipes.com. If there isn’t something here that you like, they also have an article “Ten twists on one great cheesecake” where they give you a master cheesecake recipe that, with the addition of a couple ingredients, also make some cheesecakes such as Tiramisu, Chocolate Orange, and Lemon.

Nickie’s Apple-Pecan Cheesecake

Prep Time:
30 Min
Cook Time:
55 Min
Ready In:
5 Hrs 55 Min

Ingredients

  • Crust
  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
  • Filling
  • 4 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 4 eggs
  • Topping
  • 4 cups apples (about 3) – peeled, cored, and chopped
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Line a 9×13 inch baking dish with aluminum foil, extending the foil sheets over the side of the dish.
  2. To make the crust, mix the graham cracker crumbs, butter, and 2 tablespoons brown sugar together in a bowl until evenly blended. Press evenly over the bottom of the prepared baking dish.
  3. To make the filling, beat the cream cheese, 1 cup brown sugar, and vanilla together in a mixing bowl until evenly blended. Beat in the sour cream. On low speed, add the eggs, one at a time, just until blended. Pour the mixture over the crust.
  4. To make the topping, place the apples in a bowl, and toss with 1/2 cup brown sugar, pecans, and cinnamon until evenly blended.
  5. Bake in preheated oven until center is almost set, about 55 minutes. Cool, and refrigerate 4 hours, or overnight.
  6. Before cutting, allow the cheesecake to sit 30 minutes at room temperature, then lift from the baking dish using the extended aluminum foil sheets, and place on a cutting board or serving plate. Remove the aluminum foil, and cut into 16 squares.
Prep Time:
1 Hr
Cook Time:
1 Hr
Ready In:
10 Hrs

Ingredients

  • 1 cup chocolate cookie crumbs
  • 3 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1 (10 ounce) package frozen raspberries
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 cups white chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup half-and-half cream
  • 3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

  1. In a medium bowl, mix together cookie crumbs, 3 tablespoons sugar, and melted butter. Press mixture into the bottom of a 9 inch springform pan.
  2. In a saucepan, combine raspberries, 2 tablespoons sugar, cornstarch, and water. Bring to boil, and continue boiling 5 minutes, or until sauce is thick. Strain sauce through a mesh strainer to remove seeds.
  3. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). In a metal bowl over a pan of simmering water, melt white chocolate chips with half-and-half, stirring occasionally until smooth.
  4. In a large bowl, mix together cream cheese and 1/2 cup sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs one at a time. Blend in vanilla and melted white chocolate. Pour half of batter over crust. Spoon 3 tablespoons raspberry sauce over batter. Pour remaining cheesecake batter into pan, and again spoon 3 tablespoons raspberry sauce over the top. Swirl batter with the tip of a knife to create a marbled effect.
  5. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, or until filling is set. Cool, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 8 hours before removing from pan. Serve with remaining raspberry sauce.

Best No-Bake Cheesecake

Prep Time:
30 Min
Ready In:
30 Min

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted
  • 2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 pint heavy whipping cream
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1 (21 ounce) can cherry pie filling

Directions

  1. In a small bowl, stir together the graham cracker crumbs, brown sugar and cinnamon. Add melted butter and mix well. Press into the bottom of an 8 or 10 inch springform pan. Chill until firm.
  2. In a medium bowl, beat together the cream cheese and lemon juice until soft. Add whipping cream and beat with an electric mixer until batter becomes thick. Add the sugar and continue to beat until stiff. Pour into chilled crust, and top with pie filling. Chill several hours or overnight. Just before serving, remove the sides of the springform pan.
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Food Porn Friday – Major League Baseball Opening Weekend

(Image from the blog edacious)

The 2011 Major League Baseball season has begun! If you’re able to get to a game and have anything (or perhaps everything) in the food pyramid, enjoy the game, food and atmosphere.

If you’re not able to go to a game, here’s some recipes from Allrecipes.com to help you enjoy the experience at home.

To start the festivities…the late Hall of Fame baseball announcer Harry Caray singing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame”.

What is a ballgame without ballpark franks. This Chicago-Style Hot Dog recipe is based on the Chicago Dog which is always made with an all-beef frank and a poppyseed hot dog bun.

Chicago-Style Hot Dog

Prep Time:
10 Min
Cook Time:
5 Min
Ready In:
15 Min

Ingredients

  • 1 all-beef hot dog
  • 1 poppyseed hot dog bun
  • 1 tablespoon yellow mustard
  • 1 tablespoon sweet green pickle relish
  • 1 tablespoon chopped onion
  • 4 tomato wedges
  • 1 dill pickle spear
  • 2 sport peppers
  • 1 dash celery salt

Directions

  1. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Reduce heat to low, place hot dog in water, and cook 5 minutes or until done. Remove hot dog and set aside. Carefully place a steamer basket into the pot and steam the hot dog bun 2 minutes or until warm.
  2. Place hot dog in the steamed bun. Pile on the toppings in this order: yellow mustard, sweet green pickle relish, onion, tomato wedges, pickle spear, sport peppers, and celery salt. The tomatoes should be nestled between the hot dog and the top of the bun. Place the pickle between the hot dog and the bottom of the bun. Don’t even think about ketchup!

Snack time always has time for some soft pretzels.

Buttery Soft Pretzels

Prep Time:
2 Hrs
Cook Time:
10 Min
Ready In:
2 Hrs 20 Min

Ingredients

  • 4 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
  • 5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup baking soda
  • 4 cups hot water
  • 1/4 cup kosher salt, for topping

Directions

  1. In a small bowl, dissolve yeast and 1 teaspoon sugar in warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together flour, 1/2 cup sugar, and salt. Make a well in the center; add the oil and yeast mixture. Mix and form into a dough. If the mixture is dry, add one or two tablespoons of water. Knead the dough until smooth, about 7 to 8 minutes. Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
  3. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C). In a large bowl, dissolve baking soda in hot water.
  4. When risen, turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and divide into 12 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a rope and twist into a pretzel shape. Once all of the dough is all shaped, dip each pretzel into the baking soda solution and place on a greased baking sheet. Sprinkle with kosher salt.
  5. Bake in preheated oven for 8 minutes, until browned.

Do you want an easy recipe for nachos? Here’s a three ingredient cheese dip recipe for Turkey Nachos.

Turkey Nachos

Prep Time:
10 Min
Ready In:
10 Min

Ingredients

  • 1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cheddar cheese soup, undiluted
  • 3/4 cup salsa
  • 1 cup cubed cooked turkey or chicken
  • Tortilla chips

Directions

  1. Combine soup and salsa in a saucepan or microwave-safe bowl. Stir in turkey; cook until heated through. Serve warm with tortilla chips.

Here’s a quick popcorn recipe with pecans and almonds to snack on while watching the game.

Pop Fly Popcorn

Prep Time:
10 Min
Cook Time:
10 Min
Ready In:
20 Min

Ingredients

  • 10 cups popped popcorn
  • 1 cup pecan halves
  • 1 cup slivered almonds
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • 1 cup butter (no substitutes)
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, combine popcorn and nuts; set aside. In a large saucepan, bring sugar, butter and corn syrup to a boil. Boil for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat; add vanilla, cream of tartar and baking soda. Drizzle over popcorn mixture; stir to coat. Immediately spread onto two greased baking sheets; let dry for about 1 hour. Store in an airtight container.

One more baseball song for you. When I would be listening to the radio in February and hear the song Centerfield by John Fogerty, I knew spring and opening day were not too far away. My cabin fever would always start to melt away before the song was finished.

Food Porn Friday

When you’re sick the last thing you may feel like doing is thinking, never mind cooking.  So, I looked for a couple of quick recipes you can do batch style  and put in the freezer.  Both recipes can be changed to suit your tastes and what you already have at home.

I found this at Chatalaine.com, where you can find the directions and nutritional information for French Country Chicken Soup.  The recipe is for a slow cooker but can easily be done on the stove.

Makes 10 cups (2.5 L)

Ingredients

  • 6 bone-in chicken thighs or 1 whole chicken, cut into pieces
  • 2 900-mL cartons chicken broth or 8 cups (2 L) chicken bouillon
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) Dijon
  • 2 tsp (10 mL) dried tarragon
  • 1/2 tsp (2 mL) each ground nutmeg and white pepper
  • 6 baby potatoes
  • 4 carrots
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 3 leeks

This recipe for Minestrone Soup is from Allrecipes.com. Again, the directions and nutritional information can be found at the link.

Original Recipe Yield 8 to 10 servings

Ingredients

  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 (14.5 ounce) cans stewed tomatoes
  • 1 large potato, cubed
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 1 large head cabbage, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons Italian seasoning
  • 1 (15 ounce) can kidney beans
  • 3 cups fresh corn kernels
  • 1 large zucchini, sliced
  • 1 cup uncooked orzo pasta
  • salt and pepper to taste

Enjoy and have a great weekend!